Forensic Interview Research and Education

Giving those impacted by trauma a voice by uniting forensic interview research and practice

Contact Us

For questions, reach out to us at

Program Description

FIRE bridges the gap between forensic interview research and practice by engaging in partnerships with researchers and expert practitioners alike. The department engages in forensic interview research and educates forensic interviewers and other professionals nationally on how to obtain both reliable and exhaustive information from children and adults. FIRE teaches best practices from a multi-disciplinary collaborative, culturally competent, research and trauma informed perspective. We give professionals the tools and resources necessary to maintain a high level of practice in the field and to transition competently and confidently to the courtroom.

Consultation and Testimony

FIRE provides legal expert testimony, consultation, and review in civil and criminal matters. Expert topics include forensic interviewing, child maltreatment, child sexual abuse dynamics including delayed disclosure and grooming behavior. FIRE staff are available for consultation regarding interviewing best practice techniques on a broad range of topics, tele-forensic interviewing, and forensic interview policy/procedure. We provide these services both locally and nationally.

Peer Review Sessions

Peer Review is a forensic interview standard for ensuring best practice. The process allows interviewers to have their interviews reviewed and critiqued by other forensic interviewers. Peer review is best when facilitated by a more experienced interviewer who has knowledge of current research and protocol. Peer review helps to integrate tools learned in basic interview training. We are offering a small group style of facilitation that is not protocol specific. Multi-jurisdiction or single jurisdiction peer review facilitation is available.

  • For FIT graduates, one peer review session is offered annually at no charge.

  • Free peer review session provided annually to interviewers trained in any model or protocol.

Peer review session dates are not pre-determined. To schedule review sessions, please email

Prices will vary on occurrence, number of participants, and length of the session.

Location: 5400 Preakness Way, Baltimore, MD 21215 or agency jurisdiction

About the Forensic Interview Toolbox (FIT)

The Forensic Interview Toolbox (FIT) is structured to help interviewers understand and access all of the best practice methods available to the field of forensic interviewing with children and vulnerable adults. In recent years, research in the field of forensic interviewing has been published at a rapid rate. This expansion in the field allows interviewers to refer to a wide range of best practice methods to obtain both accurate and complete narratives from witnesses (including victims) of not only sexual abuse, but a myriad of other crimes. Previously, adherence to a specific interview protocol was prudent; today interviewers are being encouraged to familiarize themselves with ongoing research, a variety of interview approaches and best practice guidelines, the basis for FIT.

This forensic interview technique is used with a suspected victim/witness central to a crime, as well as with those witnesses on the periphery of alleged incidents. FIT can also be used to interview individuals (siblings or other household members) exposed to alleged suspects. Vulnerable individuals with sexualized or other unusual behaviors concerning for abuse are also appropriate for this interview model. FIT is a flexible, semi-scripted, phased approach offering a range of choices at every stage of the interview while emphasizing methods supported by research. With the understanding that every individual and every community has differing needs for the interview, a “one-protocol-fits-all” approach may not be suitable. These guidelines utilize the concept of a toolbox approach that teaches a wide variety of best practice methods for every phase of the forensic interview. There is no one right way to conduct a forensic interview. FIT offers many options but is not exhaustive. Interviewers may choose other questions instead. FIT helps interviewers understand best practices to inform and explain their choices. As best practices dictate, FIT focuses on the use of open-ended invitations for transition statements and within each phase. A range of more focused questions are used with caution where open-ended prompts are unsuccessful.

FIT is appropriate for the novice or experienced. It was created for dedicated forensic interviewers, and for those who conduct interviews as part of an investigatory role such as Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) members in law enforcement, legal, education, or adult and child protection fields. FIT is designed for those who conduct forensic interviews and for those who observe them. FIT interviewing is not dispositive, as it is not intended to prove or disprove allegations. FIT is a tool to obtain complete narrative responses from individuals by which investigators can proceed their inquiry and make determinations.

Tele-Forensic Interview Resources

With the arrival of COVID-19, forensic interviewers across the nation were looking for innovative ways to safely conduct forensic interviews. Tele-forensic interviewing has come to the forefront as a viable and defensible option. To help support our colleagues across the country, Center for Hope has set up a hotline for questions regarding TFI or TFI set up: 443-934-4396. Give us a call! We’re here to help!

Since March 2020, the forensic interview team in Baltimore has emerged as a national leader in tele-forensic interviewing (Tele-FI/TFI) practice and education. In 2021, the team continues to support a Tele-FI helpline to those who need assistance setting up or have questions about tele-forensic interviewing practice. We also have our previously recorded tele-FI webinars posted for viewing.

Achived Webinars

Tele-Forensic Interviewing: A National Panel (recorded on 1/5/21)

Tele-Forensic Interviewing: A National Panel (recorded on 1/5/21) A panel of forensic interviewers from across the U.S. discuss how they implemented TFI. We review screening tools, choices on technology and security, safety and protocol decisions, successes and challenges. Responses to the TFI process by the interviewers, team and children are discussed along with ideas about what role TFI has in our future. Includes Q & A with the audience. Panelists: Christina Copland, forensic interviewer, Blount County Children’s Advocacy Center, Maryville, TN; Katie Ashburner, MSW, forensic interviewer, Blue Sky Bridge, Boulder, CO; Rachel Booker, manager of forensic services at Safe Shores, Washington, D.C.; Ray Olszewski, Jr., LMSW Forensic Interview Specialist at the Metropolitan Children’s Advocacy Center in Columbia, SC; Miriam Wolf, MS, LCSW Director of the Forensic Interviewing Program at the Keller Center in San Mateo County, CA; Annie Waller, LMSW Forensic interviewer at the Baltimore Child Abuse Center. Moderated by Crimson Barocca, LCSW-C Forensic Interview Program Supervisor at Baltimore Child Abuse Center.

Tele FI Practice & Protocol Development Webinar (recorded on 11/13/20)

With no clear end of COVID-19 in sight and hundreds of tele-forensic interviews (TFI) under our belt we have many successes and challenges to share. This training provides real case examples and direction on how to create and improve existing protocols on TFI practice. As skepticism fades on TFI, we discuss emerging scenarios of the benefits of this practice beyond COVID.

Tele-Forensic Interview Webinar (recorded on 4/8/20)

With the arrival of COVID-19, forensic interviewers across the nation are looking for innovative ways to safely conduct forensic interviews. Tele-forensic interviewing has come to the forefront as a viable and defensible option. We review new research, how to implement into practice and discuss guidance from National Children’s Alliance.

Additional Resources